I’m a little behind on things in South Korea. Getting adjusted to a new work schedule and life in Daegu has been a wild and crazy ride! As I mentioned in my last post, we are also trying to make the most of being stationed here, so Busan was our last trip. However, I forgot to share that we spent a wonderful weekend in Seoul last month.
The Army celebrated its 242nd birthday on June 14 – and we traveled to Seoul to attend the Birthday Ball. Y’all, it was my FIRST birthday ball experience and I had a blast! For some reason, my husband was NOT around for the last five birthday balls. An overseas tour or TDY would always take him away and he never mentioned it in our first year together. I LOVE a good reason to dress up, eat, and dance.
Needless to say, when the opportunity came this time around…YES was my answer.
The Birthday Ball landed on a Friday night, which gave us the perfect chance to stick around to explore Seoul for the rest of the weekend. It was also our first KTX train experience and I think I’m in love. The city girl in me appreciated the opportunity to get around the country via mass transit. Korea has a SPEED train called the KTX, so we arrived in Seoul in record time.
The War Memorial of Korea
Located walking distance from the Dragon Hill Inn, the War Memorial of Korea is an impressive museum of Korea’s history with conflict. It doesn’t only focus on the Korean War we know about, but all other wars that Korea as a country has faced. The outside of the museum has beautifully done memorials, particularly the one of two brothers embracing after finding each other on the battlefield. One fought for the South, while the other for the North.
I left the museum with a new found respect and understanding of the issues that Korea endured and was so glad that they have a place for locals and visitors alike to learn about Korea’s history. I recommend anyone spending time in Seoul to visit!
Namsan Seoul Tower
From the museum, we hopped in a cab to check out the Seoul Tower. We could see it right from our hotel and the museum! Once we arrived at the base of the mountain, we rode the cable car up. It was a fun experience!
The views from the Seoul Tower were amazing! It was also amazing how much stuff is up there to enjoy as well. We walked around the compound and had dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant overlooking the city.
Bukchon Hanok Village
The Bukchon Hanok Village is a well-preserved area of the city that still lives in traditional houses. I like to think of it as the Beverly Hills of Seoul that has Colonial Williamsburg charm. You can tell a lot of effort has been taken to keep these homes secure and beautiful after hundreds of years!
The first palace we visited was actually a secondary palace of the Joseon Dynasty but still loved by kings because of the beautiful grounds. It was our first taste of Korean palace life and was a great introduction. We did a tour for the day and was able to learn a lot about the history.
This palace was the main one of the Joseon Dynasty and by far the biggest! They also have daily re-enactments and I was thrilled to catch the Changing of the Gate Guard Ceremony. We spent so much time walking on this property and soaking in the history.
There were so many photos to choose from and so difficult to pick the best ones! The palaces are amazing and so worth a visit!
National Folk Museum of Korea
Right next door to Gyeongbokgung Palace is the National Folk Museum of Korea. You are not allowed to take photos inside to preserve all the artifacts. It was amazing to get a glimpse of early life in Korea and travel into the past.
Admiral Yi Sunshin and King Sejong Museum
My husband wanted to scope out the statutes of Admiral Yi Sunshin and King Sejong, which are located outside of Gyeongbokgung Palace, so we went across the street. While snapping some photos outside, we realized that there is an underground museum! We went down the stairs and spent more time learning about these two influential figures in Korean history.
Admiral Yi Sunshin is known for his naval victories and the “turtle ship”- and King Sejong commissioned the creation of the Korean alphabet, Hangul. Of course, there are other achievements on both their resumes and worth a quick study!
Needless to say, we are looking forward to our next Seoul Visit and I can’t wait to share it with you all!
PS – I’ve changed how things look a bit with more changes to come in the coming weeks as I revamp things and continuously update! 🙂